Many people think writers spend their days and nights typing away on their keyboard, creating fabulous characters, angsting over plot twists or (heaven forbid) bouts of writer’s block. And yes, this description occasionally fits part of what we do. But, there’s an entirely different aspect of being a successful writer that is becoming more and more important for us to master if we wanna hit that best seller list, or even just share our stories with as many readers as possible.
I’m talking about marketing. Publicity. Getting your name out there. It’s a hat many feel uncomfortable wearing. But it’s definitely a fashion MUST if you wanna be on the cutting edge of discoverability—a new buzz word in our industry.
So today, we’ve invited the fabulous Regency romance author Valerie Bowman to the Firebird blog to pass along some of her marketing savvy. Valerie’s got her finger on the pulse of what authors—whether unpublished, newly sold, newly published or multi-published—wanna know about discoverability and marketing. She wears her marketing hat with flair. Or should I say a bonnet.
Valerie is in the throes of marketing her latest book—Secrets of a Runaway Bride—released this month! Yet, she’s graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us and field any others you have throughout the day.
Welcome Valerie, it’s great to have you join us! I always enjoy hearing fellow author’s “sold” story. Would you share yours with us?
Thanks so much for having me on the blog today, Pris! My sold story is so fun! I was in New York City at the RWA Nationals conference in 2011. I happened to be in the room with two of my critique partners when I got the call. One of my CPs had a camera and she took pictures. So not only did I get the call when I was with the people who understood the most AND I have pictures, but I also sold on my BIRTHDAY! It couldn’t have been more perfect!
Many folks think that once you’ve sold the book, an author’s job is done other than editing, etc. What are your thoughts on that idea?
Unfortunately, that’s not actually the case. Like it or not, an author is a not only an author but a sales person. There are many reasons why an author would want to help promote her books. Not only to increase sales but also to show her editor, agent, and publishing house that she’s on board and an active participant in her own success. I’ve just put together a new workshop called Painless Marketing for Busy Authors. I cover that idea in detail in my workshop.
What marketing ideas/tasks were you already doing before you sold?
Before I sold I had a website and I was on Twitter and FaceBook, but that was pretty much it. That’s enough for an unpublished writer, in my opinion. One invaluable thing that all pre-published writers should be doing, however, is meeting other authors and networking. That’s why going to the RWA National convention is a fantastic idea.
What’s your publisher’s role in your marketing/publicity?
St. Martin’s Press’s biggest role in my marketing is getting the books distributed to the big stores like Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and other retail outlets. In addition, I work with my publicist, Aleks, to send out press releases, set up book signings, and do book giveaways. I work with my agent and editor to tweak my marketing plan and make it as strong as it can be.
Are there any resources/websites/etc. you’d recommend?
There are many resources that are helpful for authors looking to promote. Some of my favorites include:
What are your top To Dos for all writers when it comes to marketing?
You’re a self-proclaimed introvert, yet you’re a fabulous speaker and have a great rapport with fellow writers and readers. What advice would you offer to fellow introverts out there when it comes to marketing and reaching out to readers?
My sister and I often argue about this because she insists I’m an extrovert while I insist I’m an introvert who is not shy. There is a difference. I actually draw my strength and recharge being alone and quiet. But my books are my business so I make it a point to step outside of my comfort zone when it comes to business. So much so that I recently agreed to be on a reality TV series, Say Yes to the Dress. But filming was a blast and I found a gorgeous dress!
My advice to other writers who are introverts would be to pretend you’re someone else if you have to. When you’re Author You, you are outgoing and never met a stranger. When you’re Regular You, you can be yourself. I actually find it easy because when I’m around other authors I’m so interested in talking to them and hearing what they have to say, that I suddenly turn into an extrovert. No wonder it confuses my sister! J
Thanks so much for the insight, Valerie! Let’s see what other questions our readers have for you.
Thanks to the Firebirds for having me today! I’m happy to answer any questions about marketing or promotion that I can and am happy to share details of what I’ve done that’s seemed to work.
Readers… what’s on your marketing mind?
Valerie’s bio :
Valerie has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in history from Smith College and has been writing and editing professionally for over 15 years. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), and a member of The Beau Monde, Regency special interest chapter.
Originally from Rantoul, Illinois, Valerie lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her rascally dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or watching Hoarders.
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